The 41st President of the United States of America, George H.W. Bush, has passed away at the age of 94 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease.
The New York Times was first to break the news that James A. Baker III, a good friend to Bush and former secretary of state, arrived at the Bush estate, a home in a gated community in Houston, Texas on Friday morning to check on the former president. Those close to him had been aware that his condition was rapidly decreasing in recent days.
“Where are we going, Bake?” Bush reportedly asked his old friend.
“We’re going to heaven,” Baker said.
“That’s where I want to go,” Bush replied.
Hours later, close friends, family members, medical staff and a pastor were at the former president's bedside. George W. Bush, the 43rd president was not by his father's side as he drew his final breath but he was able to say goodbye one last time via speakerphone.
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The junior Bush was at his Dallas residence when he heard the news that his father was near the end. He spoke to his father that evening and reportedly told him that he had been a "wonderful dad" and said that he loved him.
"I love you, too," the senior Bush said before peacefully slipping away from his earthly existence at 10:10 p.m. on Friday evening.
“I can’t even hardly talk about it without welling up,” Baker recalled in an interview. “It was as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have. And he was ready... If those things could be sweet, it was sweet.”
After his wife's death in April, Bush reportedly told friends and family that though he was suffering from Parkinson's, he wasn't ready to die before spending one more summer at the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He fulfilled his own wish perhaps wanting to say goodbye to his family on Earth before joining those in heaven, as he believed he would.
Bush's pastor, Dr. Levenson, stated that before his passing, Bush had confided in him that he felt in comfort in the knowledge that soon he would meet his wife, Barbara, who passed away in April. The couple had been married for 73 years. Another comfort to Bush was the thought of meeting his young daughter, Robin, again. Robin Bush passed away in 1953 at the age of three due to leukemia.
“There was no question he knew where he was going and who he was going to be with,” Dr. Levenson said. “He was looking forward to being with Barbara and Robin again.”
To say that the 41st president saw a lot of life during his 94 years on this planet would be an understatement. Besides being a former president, Bush flew during the Second World War, a war hero at just 20 years old, he served as a congressman, director of the CIA, an ambassador to the United Nations and China and a two-term vice president. He was loved deeply by his friends and family including his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He will be remembered and missed. Farewell 41.